Photo by Oscar Walsh
SPUSD announced on May 15 that Mathematics teacher Mr. Anthony Chan will take the athletic director position for the 2019-2020 year. Mr. Gregorio Luna will not return for a sixth year as athletic director and Chan will face many early challenges, such as coordinating games amidst the construction of the new athletic facility and filling multiple coaching positions. Tiger sat down with Chan to discuss his vision for the athletics program.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity
Tiger: What drew you to the position?
Mr. Anthony Chan: I’ve always been really involved with our school outside of the classroom. I just love advising the junior class and coaching because it gives me an opportunity to see kids outside the classroom and I think athletic director was a natural fit. So I’m excited for the position.
Tiger: Did you ever think of becoming athletic director (AD) before the position opened up?
Chan: AD wasn’t on my radar until it appeared. I love teaching, I love kids, I love the classroom, but I got my Master’s in Educational Leadership and that’s what I want to do with my career.
Tiger: What unique skills do you bring to the AD position?
Chan: I think that I’m enthusiastic, very communicative, positive, and I’m a great unifier. I have the Commissioner of Spirit and Athletics in my 5th period, so I met with them for 10 minutes at the end of class to chat and said, “Let’s think of ways to bring more people to games and not just the main sports. I don’t want to see only football or basketball, I want to see people at water polo games. Water polo does great. How do I get those sports involved?” I think I’m a great communicator, I’m very organized and I’m eager to learn. I think that’s the biggest thing. I’m excited to learn.
Tiger: How many classes will you teach next year?
Chan: I’ll be teaching one math class, but I don’t know what course it will be.
Tiger: Will you still be the junior class adviser?
Chan: I don’t know right now. I’d like to continue junior class advising, but I’m not sure if the time constraints would allow me to.
Tiger: What are some things you’ve seen in the operations of our athletic program throughout your time as a coach/teacher that you think you could be improved upon?
Chan: I think we’ve done a tremendous job already in terms of being organizationally sound. I think we can improve upon efficiency. Right now, I think the community views the program as unstable and I don’t think that’s true. The coaching staff is great. And I need to continue to support them more. I think it takes time to build a successful program. You need coaches to stay around.
Tiger: What is the biggest thing you want to accomplish during your time as AD?
Chan: My main goal focuses on three words: efficiency, transparency, and community. I want to see practices start and finish on time. Students are very busy and they can’t have practices run four hours. I want your time to be valuable. I hope that I’m efficient in organizing the schedule, making sure that teachers know when you need to leave, and being efficient with scheduling buses. With transparency, I think that all the things that we’re doing are great, we need to let people know. Transparency and community come together as one big picture for me. I want to let the community know that these are the great things we’re doing and spotlight the athletes that don’t get attention. Badminton, girls’ soccer, and track and field are doing great, but people only see the big sports.
Tiger: Are you going to put an emphasis on winning? Where does winning rank in your priorities?
Chan: The first misconception that I want to address is that the administration doesn’t care about athletics. I think that they definitely care about athletics, but they also care about academics and balancing the two. In terms of winning, I’ll tell you now, winning doesn’t happen overnight. Winning is a byproduct of work. When you look at programs that have struggled, it takes time to build those programs, fundamentals, and get wins. It’s going to happen over time and I can’t promise you overnight success, but I am excited to see the coaches and kids excited to be there.
Tiger: The girls’ soccer and boys’ basketball coaches both have recently left their respective positions. What is your plan for hiring new coaches?
Chan: At this time, we’re looking through the pool of candidates. Beyond that, I can’t really tell you too much, but looking through some of the resumes, I’m excited.
Tiger: Do you have a rough timeline of when the hirings will be made?
Chan: I can’t tell you right now. I don’t have enough information for you.
Tiger: Is there anything that you want all the students, parents, and community to know about your new position as AD?
Chan: The biggest thing is that I’m excited. My vision is to have a very efficient, organized system. I want to make sure we communicate well and be transparent. I think it’s important to let people know this is exactly what I’m doing. There’s nothing hiding there. I’m going to let you know all the good stuff and the things we’re working on. In terms of maintenance, I want to make sure I’m very clear. If you have a problem with the gym, you let me know, it’s going to go up the ladder so that it gets fixed.